Group B vitamins are a group of molecules that are essential for our bodies. They are more commonly called energy vitamins because, while not directly supplying energy, they are indispensable cofactors in the physiological mechanisms that produce energy within our cells. They are important to transform carbohydrates into glucose and for the metabolism of lipids and proteins. They are also involved in the creation of new cells (eg red blood cells) and in repairing damaged cells (Woolf & Manore, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2006).
A review published on the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (Woolf & Manore, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2006) highlighted that sportsmen have a higher need for vitamins B than sedentary subjects and that athletes lacking in vitamin B have reduced high intensity performance levels and are slower in recovering and gaining muscle mass compared to their peers who had a diet rich in B group vitamins. The study found that vitamin B deficiency may adversely affect performance and recovery. Individual vitamin B requirements may depend on the type and intensity of the exercise, from the amount of mineral salts lost through sweating and urine and from different types of diet.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
When do you need it? When symptoms of tiredness, muscle aches and loss of appetite arise.
Where can you find it? In brewer’s yeast, wheat germ oil, pollen and royal jelly, soybean, whole grains, spirulina algae, hazelnuts, almonds, nuts, sunflower legumes, molasses.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
When do you need it? To cure mouth blisters, stomatitis, lips and mouth wounds, burning pain and inflammation.
Where is it? In brewer’s yeast, egg yolk, grain germ oil and oilseeds, cabbages, peas and yogurt.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
When do you need it? In case of bad digestion, feeling of nausea, heavy breath, irregular bowel.
Where is it? Beer, liver, kidney, fish and rhubarb yeast.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
When do you need it? In the case of more frequent illnesses, allergies, stress, more headache attacks than usual.
Where is it? In royal jelly, pollen, yeast, buckwheat and egg yolk.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
When do you need it? In case of increased cholesterol, worsening acne and eczema, increased hair loss.
Where is it? In rice, tuna, sunflower oil, bran and all organic whole flour, green leafy vegetables, peas, plums and in bananas.
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)
When do you need it? In case of asthenia, weakness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating.
Where is it? In green leafy vegetables, legumes, egg yolk and in offal.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
When do you need it? It is essential for the synthesis of new cells (eg red blood cells). Its deficiency can lead to anaemia and nervous system disorders.
Where is it? In meat, fish, dairy products and in eggs.